Arrows reinvents itself again (maybe)

Over his years in Formula 1 Tom Walkinshaw has pulled many rabbits out of hats but on most occasions the rabbits have been not ended up being quite as first they seemed and there is - whether Tom likes it or not - an enormous amount of scepticism that - at the 11th hour - the Arrows team has suddenly found a saviour again.

The team put out a press statement saying that Arrows has "agreed and signed contracts with German based investors for the introduction of substantial new equity into the team" but then refused to give further details, claiming that the whole thing must remain confidential. This is exactly the same technique used back in August when another deal was announced. It failed to amount to a deal.

The German Formula 1 market is not exactly rosy at the moment. In recent days Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom and Veltins have all announced that they are pulling out of F1. So how has Walkinshaw found German-based investors willing to invest in a company up to its neck in debt, with no car for 2003, no engines and a bunch of irate creditors. If he has really achieved this goal it is truly the work of a genius.

But who believes that he has?

This is not a question of whether or not Walkinshaw is more brilliant than the bigger teams which have lost their German backing. It is not a crusade against the team. It is a question of the integrity of the sport. The Arrows business has left the sport full of holes in the course of the last six months. And everyone in the sport is to blame for that.

We hear team bosses and those in power in the sport talk of rules and regulations but for no apparent reason the Arrows team seems to be allowed to ignore them all and go sailing on. Why therefore should anyone pay any attention to the regulations when they are being ignored by all and sundry? Are there indeed any rules at all which cannot be bent? What can the FIA do when another team is hauled up before the judges on some technicality and their defence is that the the sport does not apply its rules?

It is all well and good to try to protect people from unemployment and the sport from another frontline failure but let us be quite straightforward here: Arrows is not and has never been a frontline team nor does it have any decent heritage. It is of no value to the sport and its continued existence is just a reminder of what has happened at a time when it would best for the team to be forgotten.

This can only lead to more trouble - which is just what the sport does not need at the moment.

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